At a young age Ariel developed a fondness for painting, printmaking and photography and was mentored by Boston-based artist, Evelyn Berde. She built her first darkroom at twelve years of age. While using her late father’s Nikon F, she took photographs wherever she went. At eighteen, she moved to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts. There she became enraptured with small camera, street-like photography. After two years focusing on this style, she moved back to her hometown of Boston to attend the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she was mentored by some of the masters of the view camera and was given the opportunity to work with the infamous Polaroid 20×24 camera. She graduated with her BFA in 2010. She has studied advanced alternative photographic processes in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Savannah, Georgia. In 2019, Ariel was was invited to be an artist in residence at the Fish Factory Creative Centre of Stöðvarfjörður, Iceland.
In 2011, Ariel started Defend The Darkroom. What began as screen printing t shirts, bumper stickers and selling them at galleries and shows grew into a Facebook page with a large following of analogue photographers. A community was created which centered around sharing articles, art, and techniques with fellow like-minded artists.
While Ariel's college education has been in photography, combining other traditional art mediums with an emphasis of the mark of the hand have always been a passion and the basis of her work. Utilizing found imagery and papers with painting and printmaking, Ariel has found her stride in her art making.
In October 2020, Ariel will be an artist in residence at The Ou Gallery in Vancouver Island, Canada.
Ariel Kessler has exhibited her work all over the United States, and internationally in Mexico and Japan.
Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout the world.
Ariel lives in Watertown, Massachusetts with her dog and muse, Georgia.
"Ariel Kessler is a collector of stories.
Her mixed media art encompass lively, colorful imagery in a whimsical world. She is inspired by children's book authors and illustrators.
In contrast, her photography lets viewers into her private self. Quiet, haunting and evocative. Ariel finds inspiration from 20th century female photographers.
By working in mixed media, these two sides can merge.
Utilizing found imagery and papers with painting and printmaking, Ariel has found her stride in her art making.